11 Feb 2009

Downgrading ecstasy: is it the Government that needs help?

Today in the news we have a government- commissioned report which recommends downgrading ecstasy from the most-dangerous group of drugs.

Photos: more snow pics from last week - first is view across to Selsey, the second to Whiteshill and the last to Puckshole

Basically the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs says ecstasy should be reclassified from a Category A drug to Category B. Experts concluded that ecstasy had little impact on short-term memory loss and was not a significant factor in criminal behaviour. Category A drugs include heroin, cocaine and crack. Suppliers can face life imprisonment.

The Advisory Council's chairman, Professor David Nutt even went as far as to say that the risks associated with ecstasy were no greater than horse riding. I'm not sure if that statement is helpful even though it appears to be true - anyhow it looks like the government will reject the experts' advice. Similarly last month the government rejected the Advisory Council's advice on cannabis, restoring it from a Category C drug to Category B. It was Labour who set up these expert panels why are they now ignoring the advice?

The Green Party drugs spokesman Shane Collins claims the cause is politically-motivated cowardice. I have to agree - the Daily Mail will give a nice roasting to folk seeming to approve drugs - all drugs pose health risks but we need a rational and informed debate. As Mr Collins said: "Rejecting the advice of its own experts appears to be habit-forming and is definitely dangerous. The government should seek help."

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